Monday, June 29, 2009

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Review

Michael here. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a humongous start for Fox's 3D efforts.

The best of the three Ice Age movies, "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is not only action-packed and funny, but is a very well-told story. Each character gets his/her own emotional arc. Truths regarding family bonds, parenting, courage, the need for love and companionship, and forging one's own trail form the movie's heart. The movie isn't sappy, though, as it acknowledges potential reasons why "herds" may break apart. Diego and Sid in particular find themselves dealing with loneliness (in Sid's case), or the need to strike out on one's own (Diego).

It also has the most audience-pleasing use of 3D in a CG animated family film to date. The pterodactyl chase and the bubble scene were some of the 3D standouts. There were no gimmicky 'stuff sticking into your face' 3D moments. Instead, the 3D draws you into the prehistoric world that the characters uncover. But I must say that I really felt an inch away from Scrat's funny-looking snout as he sniffed around for that acorn. Speaking of everyone's favorite squirrel/rat hybrid, Scrat has a love interest in the film, forming a storyline that surprises with how well it intersects with with the main plot of the movie.

The action sequences are a lot of fun - tense, well edited, and filled with character moments and humor. The movie itself played great to the crowd of parents and kids which formed the majority of my screening audience. The movie knows how to create excitement and get you cheering for the characters, and is filled with applause worthy moments. It's this great sense of pacing and payoff (both in terms of action and character) which got the audience cheering and elevates this film above the first two Ice Age movies.

Packed with jokes that work on multiple levels for audiences of all ages, the movie is very funny without resorting to pop-culture references. There were constant laughs and running commentary from the kids in the audience. In particular, Simon Pegg's character 'Buck' is an incredibly entertaining addition to the cast. His performance as a borderline crazy Australian hermit swashbuckling weasel leaps off the screen.

This movie will do great business. I'm very interested to see where the story goes next. Will it be the rumored "Ice Age: Th4w" which sees the gang getting frozen and defrosted in a modern-day museum? Or something completely different?

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